Take the Time by the Hand – Deborah’s free and slow journey

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My slow travel journey toward Santiago, Spain

A slow travel adventure!

ย In September 2019 I set off on my second walk to Santiago: it was just Me and Freedom. The idea was to do it without planning anything, dates, stages, days… Having no time limits, there are no limits along the way. A long, slow journey by bus to Bologna. Then, a series of vehicles while hitchhiking to St. Jean Pied Du Port.

It was an amazing journey. I met people from all over the world, shared some important steps and stories of life, and slept outside on a green bench in front of the bar of one of those ‘pueblos’. I have learned many things and taught others.

Quieres ser voluntario?

volunteers, wwoofer, volunteering, cultural exchange, gardening, voluntouring, slow travelHalfway through, after a tiring climb through the woods before Galicia, Spain, I arrive in a village called La Faba. I enter a bar/hostel to wait for Martina and Chiara, two pilgrims I met a few days before, and to greet them to continue my journey. At the entrance of the bar I read:


Something inexplicable pushes me to stay in this place. You know what I’m referring to… those sensations that you feel, sometimes, inside your consciousness. And it’s always a pleasure for me to listen to these gut feelings.

La Faba is a small mountain village with a dozen or so inhabitants.

In exchange for board and lodging, I provided daily help at the hostel. Everyone did everything. I learned in a few days how to cook their vegetarian menu, how to manage pilgrim registrations and everything else that usually needs to be done in a bar/hostel. I learnt even more about the language and enjoyed sharing spaces and being together with others.

Every night, after 11 pm, the old man from the village came to visit us. DOMINGO.

He always had a shot of liquorice liqueur and offered a ’round’ to all the volunteers. He loved it, it was a real daily ritual.
But a month passes quickly when you’re feeling good. So I continue my journey. One week of walking to Santiago. Rain, strong wind and long climbs await us! I arrive in Santiago and I cut the thread with Martina and Leo, two people that I will carry in my heart forever. Two Friends. Three souls united by the promise that they will be together again in any of the next lives we will live!

We really were a great trio!


Santiago, then another 100 km to do to finally see Her: the mystical Finisterre.

In Finisterre, I spent three weeks in the same hostel I had stayed in two years before. This time everything was different (as always).

An Italian, a Brazilian and a Spaniard became my family for three weeks: Martin cooked for the community dinner, every night; that big kitchen danced to Brazilian, Spanish, English and Italian music notes! In the morning, we would walk to Playa de Fora and in the afternoon we would reach the lighthouse to enjoy the sunset, just a few kilometres away.

You, the ocean and everything.

On the first of December, I decided to get to know another place: Las Palmas.

Las Palmas

I arrived in Mas Palomas on the first day and spent the night on a cardboard box in a large car park owned by the local ayuntamiento. What should have been a house without water, in short, was a parking lot where two homeless people in their forties were staying.
The five of us found ourselves talking about life and the little things, laughing and walking along the beautiful Mas Palomas seafront.

Thank you A. Thank you P.

In Las Palmas, I was staying in a hostel while looking for a job that would allow me to stay a little longer abroad, but I did not succeed.

The hostel was very big. Three floors. Spacious, colourful and always full of new people. Some stayed for a longer or shorter time than the other travellers. I spent the hot days on the island, visiting every place on foot. I lived the lifestyle of a street artist (many of the volunteers in the hostel were street artists). I found myself in front of a world full of art, music and wonderful people from whom I learned so many different and intense things each time.

Here, I really understood my inner change.

My head was trying to tell me something.
I decided to go home for personal reasons and spend Christmas with my parents. And just when I had tried everything, a reply came from many Portugal hosts.

Return to Spain

So on the 10th of January, my new adventure began, working in exchange for accommodation in a hostel in the north of Peniche.

Among the many things I have known and experienced here, one of the most important is… me!

Final thoughts

I can say that this stay has been a natural medicine for me, for this “Myself” that has perhaps been silenced by the system, by society, by materialism and by everything that envelops our minds so that we are not able to look beyond.

I left with a backpack on my shoulder and the bare essentials inside.

Now I am ready to dive into another adventure.

And what about returning home? Nah, it’s not time yet!

I would have liked to write more, and more clearly, BUT I am really struggling with this PC and I have problems with my mobile phone. This IS my long and slow journey.

I hope to write to you again, in the meantime I will continue to write for me, for my slow journey.

Write a message to Deborah
deborahellesantiago@gmail DOT com

Or leave a comment below! ๐Ÿ‘‡

Articles translated from Italian to English. Source (VCL).

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Author: Voluntouring staff

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2 thoughts on “Take the Time by the Hand – Deborah’s free and slow journey

  1. Hello Deborah,

    I found your profile at voluntouring.org.

    Nice pictures, it is beautiful to travel1

    I have a question, do you know a place at La Palma where you can do volunteer work as a family?

    We would love to visit La Palma in July this year and do some volunteer work over there.

    Have a good day!


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